Written by Sven Jadyschke
Today the 30.06.2016, the second-to-last day of our Summer School. In the morning, as I was on the way to the University, I remembered the previous day, I had a wonderful summer picnic with my classmates, organized in freetime by our training staff, Dr. Hedjazi, Prof. Patel and Ms. Pilipiszyn.
As I arrived at the University, I looked forward to Prof. Patels lecture “Sustainability Paradigms,” which I liked as they went into a little bit more in detail and kept a realistic perspective. He started with Biofuels and explained to us the first and second generation, what are the differences and how they were produced. Regarding the question of sustainability, is it a controversial question because it brings lots of other problems within it. In my opinion, the biggest problem is not CO2, but rather it is pressures on the ground (high fertilizer usage) and stands in competition with food producers. Then we changed the topic to the “Tosa Bus,” which is an electric power and battery-driven bus. It was interesting to listen Prof. Patel’s explanations and see, how these discussions would make our group more and more aware, and better understand how broad and deep the currently technical and political issues around these topic is.
The second part of Prof. Patel’s lecture was a comparision between 3 views (Indur M. Goklany, Michael E. Porter, Jørgen S. Nørgård), regarding human technology development, behavior in dealing with the environment and responsible social aspects. Everybody was required to read the day before and have an overview about these 3 authors and their views. Prof. Patel asked us, which view has our highest compliance? The vote of our class was: Groklany 2, Porter 7 and Nørgård 3. For me was interesting to see, how is the dynamic and the discussion about different views.
In the evening, we started our excursion to the Palais des Nations, the United Nation Economic Commission For Europe (UNECE). We got a pleasant welcome by Oleg Dzioubinski, and he introduced us to the Member States and gave us an overview about the work on sustainable energy within the UN. I think it is important that their definition of sustainable contains not only renewable energies but also the access of all people to energy. Afterwards, we heard two other interesting speakers. David Elzinga spoke about natural gas, oil prices, conflicts between producers and consumer countries and Jennifer Chang, who gave us some insights about coal usage. At the end of the day, Ms Chang showed us many different social aspects, political and private influences and monetary consequences for a country, a branch and a region.
At the end, my thoughts about the second-to-last day and almost two weeks in the Summer School, I think Switzerland is an ideal place, especially Genèva, as a good pattern for conservative, responsible and sustainable thinking. One thing is fact, everything depends on given conditions, and perhaps Genèva has not the monopoly of the truth, but a good initial situation, however I think, it is an impartial state and in addition the NGOs, where it is possible for many countries for a neutral get-together, to learn from each other. Education and sharing information are in every case an important key for a clean and sustainable world. With energy and environment questions there are so many stakeholders, that it is not enough to read only the headline of any study or research and get back to work, rather what is needed is an understanding to make sure nobody is left behind. It is like a trade, only if every stakeholder has a benefit is it possible to act sustainably in response to our nature-given challenge.